Rhenian Open Air Museum Kommern

Rheinisches Freilichtmuseum Kommern, www.kommern.lvr.de

We first visited this open air museum in 2004, and have been there once or twice since. It is a really beautiful, idyllic place; much larger than the open air museum in Grefrath.

Mailbox outside the Gastwirtschaft zur Post (Post Inn), located in an old farm building

I feel a bit lazy and I don´t think I could put it any better, so I´ll just quote the description on the homepage: "About 60 buildings from all over the Rhineland - residential buildings, farmyards, windmills, workshops, but also village community buildings such as a school and bakery, a dance hall and a chapel - have been reerected in the museum. Most of the buildings were reconstructed in their 'original' condition after being moved."

"The oldest buildings date from the 16th century. On the other hand, furnishings show the economic and living conditions of the 19th and early 20th century... While walking around the museum grounds, you will encounter all the animals which formerly characterized the image of the village - not just the cock on the muck-heap. The animal breeds reestablished in the museum, such as 'Glan-Donnersberger' cattle or German 'Weideschwein' Pigs in the museum's forest cannot be found in any zoo!"

Old village store

"Throughout the whole year you can witness traditional work, which changes on a daily basis: preparation of good country meals on an antique stove, baking bread in the parish bakery, forging iron nails - Auntie Emma - in the corner shop, the country postman wearing an imperial uniform, farmers with a yoke of oxen, the weaver-woman..."            We didn´t see much of that when we were there but the second time we came they had reenacted of a traditional fair, which was lovely.

In addition to the traditional buildings, there is also a modern museum complex which houses both temporary and permanent exhibitions. There is a really good exhibition on Rhenian emigrants to America, as well as a display of antique toys and various others.

Windmill from the Nether Rhine region; it´s a capped windmill which only turns its roof part with the wind.


Rosy and the spooky disembodied spirit hand...

Open Air Museum Kommern 2010

We returned to Kommern in April 2010 for the Vintage Fun Fair. This time, Saffy got to come.

Farm from the Bergisches Land region


Some interiors from the Bergisches Land region

Farm from the Eifel region

Saffy: Yoo-hoo!

Landvermessungsturm, ca. 1939. This land surveying tower was used as a land mark visible over great distances for creating maps etc.

Bockwindmühle (Post Mill) from the Nether Rhine region. The entire mill turns with the wind.

Inside the mill.

Inside the old post office

Exterior of the village store, Westerwald region

Interior, Westerwald region

Old Smithy, Westerwald region

Beekeeper´s utensils

Old School

Jahrmarkt Anno Dazumal: Vintage Fun Fair (1900 - 1950).

The annual vintage fun fair has booths and attractions from between the 1900s and 1950s. They are trying to give an impression of how fun fairs and life for the fairground artistes were in the past, as well as trying to offer something that complies with modern day tastes and regulations.

Duck fishing. I loved that as a child!

Saffy is small but strong...


... and sexy.                                                                Hau den Lukas/High Striker.


Vintage shooting targets dating back to the 1900s

Toy Booth

"The Miracle of Photography"


Gingerbread hearts were everywhere, along with candy floss, candied apples and other fruits, sugar canes in all colors of the rainbow and roasted almonds.

"Schwanenflug" Kettenkarussell - Flying Swing "Swan´s Flight"

Berg-und-Talbahn/Switchback Ride

Saffy: Tee hee! This gingerbread heart was meant just for me!  (The icing says "little doll").

In the bright sunlight, the vintage ghost ride - dating back to 1949 - doesn´t look too scary.

Let´s give it a try!

The director of the Flea Circus was also a Magician.

There were other artistes, too: Illusionists, a Strong Woman, a tightrope act, a Laterna Magica performance, and of course a Fortune Teller.

Dolls´ Fairground

Much to Saffy´s enjoyment, one of the booths displayed a miniature fairground for dolls. There were even some Playmobil figures among the visitors...!

One of my favorite booths: Das Panoptikum (Curiosity Cabinet). Doesn´t it look as if it has eyes following the passers-by?

You´d look through one of the peep holes in the front and see the display inside.

This curiosity cabinet contained a delightful mixture typical of the things that used to be displayed this way.

Scenes and people from all over the world (remember, this was in an age before people could easily travel everywhere or get familiar with even the most exotic places via T)...

 The National Assembly of France in Paris at night - you could pull a string and the image switched to show it by day).

A "tattooed savage from America" (sorry, but that´s what the sign said...)

Leftovers from a cannibal meal

Amusing silliness...

Das Handwerk des Zitronenfalters  (this pun only works in German - "Zitronenfalter" is the German term for the brimstone butterfly, but can also be interpreted as "someone who folds lemons").

Historical scenes and memorabilia (the genuinity of which may be debated...)

The bloody shirt of Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico (an Austrian prince, brother of Sissi´s beloved Franz-Josef, who became emperor of Mexico in 1863 on invitation of the Mexican nobility and was executed after a republican revolution in 1867.)

The Terrors of Torture

Natural History Curiosities:

Left: Siamese Twins          Right: The symptoms of syphilis

As you can see, the traveling curiosity show aimed to give people a glimpse into the big wide world out there - satisfy their craving for sensations: sex, violence and gore sold already back then - but made a point to leave them with the feeling that "out there" was pretty scary and dangerous and they were not that bad off in the comparatively safe little place that they were in.